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308                           LETTERS   FROM   THE

We embarked at ten to set sail at six next
morning, nobody but myself bestowing a thought
upon the possibility of any danger; but I have
been taught so severe a lesson that it is never out
of my mind, and I calculated that our captain
and everybody on board were strangers to these
seas, and not very well provided with good charts;
besides, the being in constant sight of land is apt
to betray one into a dangerous security, and to
make one steer by the eye rather than by good
astronomical and nautical combinations.

We reached St. Thomas for dinner, and spent
the day with some friends ashore.

On Monday, by daybreak, we were under
way, after weathering the east point of St. Croix
and St. John's. About noon, Tuesday, we were
close in with the south side of Virgin Gorda, or
Spanish Town Island.

After an immense deal of tacking, about a
quarter before midnight, the ship struck upon a
horse-shoe reef, which extends a vast way east
from the island of Anegada, but shows no mark
above water, whereby its shallow, rocky bottom
can be known.

We were all awakened with the shock; some
thought it was an earthquake. I felt very little
emotion, but dressed myself and came on deck,